QOTD: Were There Any Lustworthy American Cars Built Between 1979 and 1989?

Earlier this week, our Junkyard Find was a totally rad 1989 Chevrolet Camaro RS, complete with interesting personal touches applied by an owner who was quite familiar with taste and elegance.

In the comments, things quickly turned to the nature of the automobile during a dark and Malaisey period — 1979 to 1989. A question bubbled to the surface for me: Were there any lustworthy American cars made in that period? Let’s find out.

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Junkyard Find: 1996 Chevrolet Beretta Z26

The Chevrolet Beretta and its sedan sibling, the Chevrolet Corsica, were built for the 1987 through 1996 model years. Today, both models are nearly as forgotten as the wretched Celebrity, though you’ll still see the occasional example on the street today (usually sporting at least one space-saver spare tire).

Here’s a last-year-of-production Beretta — outfitted with the high-performance Z26 package — spotted in a Phoenix yard a few months back.

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Junkyard Find: 1996 Chevrolet Beretta Z26

You want rare? This car is rare!

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Junkyard Find: 1992 Chevrolet Beretta GT

The Chevrolet Division hit one of its all-too-common low points in the early 1990s; the early-80s-design Camaro and Corvette looked more dated by the minute, the Cavalier was a laughingstock, the Lumina might as well have had gigantic “RENTAL CAR” badging on the decklid, and minivan shoppers ignored the confusingly-named Lumina APV in their mad rush to the nearest Chrysler dealership.

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  • J. 2017 was the last year the Camry was offered with a manual transmission
  • MRF 95 T-Bird Sears and JC Whitney also had similar dune buggy kits. The VW accessories along with the running gear for legal use just bolted on. Hmm Amazon? A Bradley GT or Kelmark kit using an electric “skateboard” platform would also be cool.
  • Inside Looking Out Cadillac now associates with rap music. In the past it was all about rock'n'roll. Rap is environmentally friendlier than rock'n'roll.
  • EBFlex This is nothing compared to what Ford is doing. The fake lightning is seeing massive price increases for 2023. Remember how they self pleasured themselves about the fake lightning starting under $40k? In 2023, the price jumps by a very Tesla like $7,000. And that’s not the biggest price jump. And much less talked about, the government fleet discounts are going away. So for a basic 3.3L Explorer, the price is jumping $8,500. S basic F150 is also now $8,500 more. Im sure the same people that complained about the oil companies making “obscene profits” will say the same thing about Ford.
  • Bobbysirhan Sometimes it seems like GM has accepted that the customers they still have are never going to come to their senses and that there aren't any new dupes on the horizon, so they might as well milk their existing cows harder.